NORTH ANDOVER, MA - #13/14 Merrimack picked up its sixth straight win, tying a Division I school record, while clinching its second-ever season-series victory from #14 Boston University with a 3-2 victory Tuesday night at Lawler Arena.
#13/14 Merrimack (13-4-4, 7-4-3 HEA) continues its season-long four-game homestand against UMass Lowell Friday night at 7 p.m. Merrimack swept a weekend series with River Hawks in November. The Terriers (10-6-6, 7-4-4 HEA) will host Boston College Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in a game televised on NESN.
Joe Cannata (Wakefield, MA) made 28 saves, 13 in the third, as Merrimack crept to one point behind the Terriers for third place with a game in hand. With the win, the Warriors improve to 11-2 in their last 13 games and have the nation's current longest winning streak at six games.
Merrimack captured the season series over the Terriers for the first time since 2000-01 and for just the second time ever. It also marks the first time in school history the Warriors have season-series victories over BU and BC.
The Warriors struck first as Jeff Velleca (Waterbury, CT) netted his first goal since opening night redirecting a wrister from Karl Stollery (Camrose, AB) with the teams skating four aside at 3:11 of the first. Velleca won the draw and worked it to Ryan Flanigan (Rochester, NY), who pushed it to the point to Stollery, who fired it on net where Velleca deflected it past Kieran Millan.
Merrimack controlled the play for much of the first outshooting the Terriers 16-6, four from Chris Barton (Calgary, AB), while winning 12 of 21 draws.
The hosts picked up a pair of goals 2:39 apart in the second as Flanigan fired a wrister over Millan's glove at 4:47 for his sixth of the year and sixth point in his last three games. With the teams skating at four aside again, Stephane Da Costa (Paris, France) fed the junior forward who's wrister surprised the junior goaltender to give Merrimack the 2-0 lead. The assist extended Da Costa's point streak to 11 games.
With a Merrimack power play just expiring, Jesse Todd (Camrose, AB) redirected a Brendan Ellis (Kelowna, BC) shot for his team-leading 12th of the season and his fourth in the last three games at 7:26 to give the Warriors the 3-0 lead heading into the third period.
The Terriers rallied in the third as Charlie Coyle and Joe Pereira scored 3:31 apart to cut the lead to one with 13:04 to play in regulation.
But the Warriors held on from there as Adam Ross (Red Deer, AB) came up with a huge block on Corey Trivino, while Cannata stopped Alex Chiasson on a breakaway with 11 minutes remaining.
BU followed with two straight penalties late in the game to seal the victory for Merrimack, its 13th of the season in 21 games.
The Warriors' penalty kill, ranked second nationally, killed off all five BU power plays while allowing just two shots. Stollery, Merrimack's top defender, took over the lead for scoring among blue liners in Hockey East with his assist, giving him 18 on the season.
Millan made 38 saves, as Merrimack fired 40 shots for the fourth straight game, outshooting the Terriers 41-30.